Call for Papers: "Terracotta Vessel Form and Other Related Vessels"

"Unguentarıuma terracotta vessel form and other related vessels ın the hellenıstıc, roman and early byzantıne medıterranean - an ınternatıonal symposıum"

May 17-18, 2018 / Izmir, Turkey
with an excursion to Lesbos, Greece on May 19-21, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

The Izmir Center of the Archaeology of Western Anatolia (EKVAM) is glad to inform you that an international symposium on unguentarium, a terracotta vessel form in the Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine Mediterranean, will take place on May 17-18, 2017 at the Dokuz Eylül University (DEU) in Izmir, Turkey. An unguentarium (plural “unguentaria”) is a small ceramic or glass bottle, found in relatively large quantities in the entire Mediterranean, from Spain to Syria and Egypt to France, where they were produced between the early Hellenistic and early Medieval periods. The terracotta version of this form is a typically narrow-necked vessel shape, topped with a slender neck and a thin-lipped rim. The base of these vessels can be in some cases rounded or fusiform -- in which case it is not self-standing -- or flat-bottomed. Its shape was changed in several periods, but especially during the mid second century B.C. Beside the common term unguentarium, which is a modern invitation, this vessel type was also called as “balsamare”, “ampulle”, “lacramarium” or “flacon” etc.

During the Hellenistic and Roman imperial periods the main function of these vessels was to keep perfumed oils and cosmetic lotions fresh. In recent years some chemical analyses done within these objects yielded the evidence that the unguentarium was mainly used to hold scented “holy” oils, unguents and perfumes. Beside this use it was also utilised for other religious purposes, especially as a votive object at tombs.

During the early Byzantine period the form and the function of unguentaria was changed radically. It became a fusiform flask in shape, with a short tubular mouth marked off from the body by a slight ridge, tapering to a roughly truncated point. The characteristics of these containers, which were first presented by J. W. Hayes in detail in 1971, are very distinctive: they are wheel-made, hard fired, with a thick, sturdy body and with a well smoothed and quite plain surface. A further exotic feature of these vessels is that they occasionally bear a small stamp, generally early Byzantine monograms. What these unguentaria contained is not satisfactorily answered yet.

So far the study of this vessel form has been overlooked whereas there is still a huge amount of unpublished material from excavations, field surveys and museums in the entire Mediterranean. In this symposium we only focus on terracotta unguentaria between c. mid fourth century B.C. and mid sixth century A.D., and attempt to set out a comprehensive model for the study of terracotta unguentaria, including their definition, typology, chronology, contexts, function, regional characteristics, and distribution patterns in the whole Mediterranean geographies, including whole eastern Mediterranean, Roman provinces in the western Mediterranean, north of Alps (Germania and Britannia etc.) and north Africa. It is also our intention to create a complete bibliography of previous publications on terracotta unguentaria.

We warmly invite contributions by scholars and graduate students from a variety of disciplines related to this terracotta vessel form. Intended to bring together scholars of Greek, Roman and Byzantine ceramic archaeology to discuss a range of issues concerning this vessel’s characteristics, this symposium should be an excellent opportunity to increase our knowledge about this form. The following theme groups are the main questions of the symposium which are prescriptive:

- Terracotta unguentaria from archaeological field projects, museums and private collections,

- Ancient Greek and Latin textual sources on unguentaria,

- Typological evolution of terracotta unguentaria,

- Transitional typological and functional features between lekythoi, amphoriskoi etc. and unguentaria during the late Classical-early Hellenistic period,

- Similar vessel forms in the ancient Near East and their relations to Greek unguentaria,

- What ancient Greeks and Romans thought about afterlife? Terracotta unguentaria in the Mediterranean funerary contexts (a session proposed by Dr Cristian Anton Găzdac),

- Domestic and commercial contents of terracotta unguentaria: Perfumes, unguents and other commodities and their trade through terracotta unguentaria (i.e. terracotta unguentaria as means of networking),

- Related vessels in the regards of their function,

- Relations of Hellenistic and Roman terracotta unguentaria to glass, metal and marble unguentaria,

- Major production centers of terracotta unguentaria in Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine periods,

- Roman terracotta unguentaria in the eastern and western Mediterranean, and their differences,

- Hellenistic and Roman gravestones and other iconographic media depicting unguentaria,

- Early Byzantine unguentarium as an eulogical object for pilgrim?,

- Monograms on early Byzantine unguentaria,

- Relations between early Byzantine terracotta unguentaria and some historical events,

- Reasons for its abrupt termination in the mid seventh century A.D.,

- Exceptional finds of terracotta unguentaria in Graeco-Roman fashion after the seventh century A.D.,

- Miscellanea.

On these themes and questions, all disciplines, approaches and methods susceptible to bring some progress to our current knowledge are of course welcome: classical archaeology, Byzantine archaeology, archaeometry, petrography, history of art, ancient history, sigillography and cultural anthropology etc. Archaeometric papers related to unguentarium research are most welcome. English is the official language of the symposium.

The symposium is free of charge. Unfortunately the symposium organization cannot undertake expenses of participants’ accommodation, travel, post-symposium excursion, the booklet of symposium abstracts and publication of the proceedings. It will take place at the Burgundy Hall of DESEM in the Chancellery Building of DEU in Alsancak, Izmir. A local archaeological journal is planned as a special issue containing the symposium’s abstracts which will also be made available on the website. The proceedings of the symposium will be published in 2020. We will make the required hotel reservations as soon as we know the exact number of participants. The approximate cost for the accommodation per night + breakfast will be 25 €. A post-symposium excursion is planned on May 19-21 to Lesbos, Greece through Ayvalık. For the participants who cannot travel to Izmir, we will arrange a video-conference facility through Skype. There are several low-cost flight companies (Pegasus, Sunexpress, Onur Air, Easyjet, Eurowings etc.) which operate direct flights to Izmir from several locations. The dates of our symposium have been regulated for those who are also planning to participate to the meetings in Çanakkale, Turkey (c. 300 km north of Izmir), entitled „40th Turkish symposium of archaeological excavations, surveys and archaeometry” and is taking place on May 5-10, 2018, and in Cologne/Bonn, Germany, entitled “19th international congress of classical archaeology” and is taking place on May 22-26, 2018,

The EKVAM has organized several international archaeological meetings under the series of Colloquia Anatolica et Aegaea, Congressus internationales Smyrnenses and continues to organize these annual scientific meetings in Izmir regularly every third week of each May (a list of past meetings and their publications in the series of Colloquia Anatolica et Aegaea, Acta congressus communis omnium gentium Smyrnae is at below).

We would be delighted, if you could consider contributing to our symposium and contact us with the required information below before February 1, 2018. Our e-mail addresses are: or For all your queries concerning the symposium our phone number is: +90.544.938 54 64. The organizers seek to widen participation at this symposium, and would like to encourage colleagues from all parts of the world to attend. The symposium committee kindly requests that you alert any persons within your research community who would be interested in participating at this symposium, either by forwarding our e-mail through Facebook or other similar social media, or by printing this circular or our poster and displaying it in your institution. We hope that you will be able to join us at the Dokuz Eylül University, and look forward to seeing you in Izmir!

Websites of the symposium

Required information for the participation to the symposium

Type of Participation:      



Lecturer through Skype:  


Academic title:                          


Complete professional address:

Cell phone:


Your Academia and/or Researchgate account’s address:

Are you planning to join to the post-symposium excursion to Lesbos, Greece?:

Any special requests:

Title of your lecture:

Your abstract:

N.B.: An illustration can be included; it should be sent by e-mail to or


(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)


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Leuven, 17 May 2018

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:28am by Erik Shell.
Hellen Cullyer

A Day in the Life of a Classicist is a monthly column on the SCS blog written by Prof. Ayelet Haimson Lushkov celebrating the working lives of classicists. If you’d like to share your day, let us know here.

Hellen Cullyer is Executive Director of SCS.

There are days when I am traveling, days when I spend hours in front of my computer because of a looming deadline, and days when I am on the phone  / email / Skype most of the day dealing with a crisis. However, a typical day is something like the following on Monday-Thursday. Friday is different, as I explain below. On the average Monday-Thursday, I wake up early and have a quick breakfast before running out of the house to get my train. My work day starts as soon as I sit down on the train. I look at the to-do list that I have written the night before, and take stock of the whole state of the organization and figure out if there is anything crucial that I am forgetting to do. I also catch up on email during this time. Emails may be from members, directors, officers, committee members. At the moment, I have multiple email threads with President Joe Farrell in any given day. For his sake, I hope things will calm down a bit soon.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 03/14/2018 - 4:30pm by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.

The deadline for the SCS's Ludwig Koenen Fellowship for Training in Papyrology is March 28th, 2018.

The competition is open to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and untenured faculty. Applicants must be SCS members, and the selection committee will make awards of at least $600 but no more than $1,800.  The application should consist of:

  • One-page single-spaced typed narrative description of the training to be undertaken and the funding amount requested.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • One letter of recommendation from someone who can address the importance of the training in papyrology for furthering your current research.
  • A list of any other sources of funding applied for with amounts requested.

Applications must be submitted as e-mail attachments to Executive Director Helen Cullyer at


View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/14/2018 - 12:24pm by Erik Shell.

HIPPOCRATES AND HIS MEDICAL SCHOOL: Tracing the roots of Bioethics back to the ancient Philosophers -Physicians

Ancient Olympia and Zacharo, Greece
July 29th-31st, 2018

Call for Abstracts and Papers

Hippocrates is most remembered today for his famous Oath, which set high ethical standards for the practice of medicine. The congress invites scientists, scholars and researchers to discuss Hippocrates’ revolutionary foundation in a multidisciplinary way and/or present relevant workshops.

We welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines, including bioethics, biotechnology, politics, health and life sciences, law and philosophy as well as philosophy and fine arts, and/or other relevant disciplines and fields. Comparative studies (submissions) on the ancient Philosophers-Physicians before and after Hippocrates will be highly appreciated.

The conference aims at providing a platform for in-depth analysis and discussion of all above related areas.

Suggested Thematic Units:

  • Hippocrates Medical School applications
  • Ancient Philosophers –Physicians background
  • Bioethics
  • Fine arts therapeutic impact


April 30, 2018:  Abstract is due (300-500 words)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 9:54am by Erik Shell.

Authors: Celia E. Schultz (University of Michigan), Carole E. Newlands (University of Colorado), Ruth R. Caston (University of Michigan)

One night over dinner at the SCS in Toronto (2017), conversation turned to one of the more frustrating parts of standard graduate programs in Classics: the surveys of Greek and Latin literature. Students see these courses as great hurdles to leap over, and faculty (well, at least we) felt that their necessarily selective approach is undesireable and that the courses cannot possibly do justice to all the important goals set for them: improving students’ command of the languages and their speed in reading, preparing students for exams, giving students a sense of the chronological development of the classical literary tradition, and introducing them to important trends in scholarship.  Perhaps spurred on by the wine, we decided to see if anyone else felt the same way and to see if we could get a conversation started about how to improve the experience of survey for everyone. 

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 03/11/2018 - 7:16pm by Celia Schultz.

The deadline for submitting:

  • All proposals for panels, workshops, seminars, and roundtable discussions.
  • Reports from organizers of committee, organizer-refereed, and affiliated group panels who have issued their own CFPs.
  • Proposals for organizer-refereed panels for 2020.
  • Applications for new affiliated group charters and for renewals of current charters.

is April 9th, one month from today. Individual abstracts are due April 25th.

Anyone hoping to submit an abstract or another proposal can do so on our program submission website.


(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 03/08/2018 - 8:40am by Erik Shell.
Terracotta plaque with King Oinomaos and his charioteer, 27 B.C.–A.D. 68. Terracotta. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fletcher Fund, 26.60.31. Licensed under CC BY 1.0.

In the thirteen years I have been active as an independent scholar, I have learned that the independent scholar is in effect the mirror of an independent scholarly readership composed of individuals who are dedicated consumers of scholastic literature without being either presently matriculated students or academics themselves. I have come to believe that we cannot speak of the genuine flourishing of independent scholarship without taking this into account.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:09pm by Edward P. Butler.

SCS is calling for members to volunteer for SCS committees and leadership positions.

These positions include many current SCS committees as well as the newly-formed Graduate Student Committee which will make recommendations about issues that concern graduate students, including the curriculum and preparation for a variety of teaching, research, and other careers.  Descriptions of various positions and offices can be found here.

To volunteer, you can fill out the form linked on the Members Only page of our website. You must log in to the site to access this page. The deadline to apply for the Graduate Student Committee is April 12.  All other volunteer deadlines are May 2.  The graduate student committee will start work as soon as all members appointed.  Other appointed committee members will begin their terms in 2019.  Most elected offices will begin in 2020. 

If you have any questions about what might be expected of you feel free to email and we can put you in touch with the relevant committee chair or Vice President.


View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 2:54pm by Erik Shell.

Call for Contributors: Tacitus Encyclopedia

Prof. Victoria Pagán, in contract with Wiley-Blackwell Press, is seeking contributors for an encyclopedic volume on Tacitus.

"Entries offer in-depth treatment of the content and contexts of Tacitus’ history and reception from antiquity to the 21st century. The Tacitus Encyclopedia will be published in two volumes in print and also online. It will comprise approximately 1,000 entries."

You can find a full description of the program here.


(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:26pm by Erik Shell.

Congratulations to Melissa Y. Mueller (Associate Professor of Classics, University of Massachusetts Amherst) for winning the ACLS's Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars.

Her project is "Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading" and will take place at the National Humanities Center in 2019-2020.

The full list of Fellowship recipients and their projects can be seen here.


(Photo: "library" by Viva Vivanista, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 03/05/2018 - 10:28am by Erik Shell.


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